So yeah, if you haven’t heard Bethesda, the company behind The Elder Scrolls series and present owners of the Fallout license, have been a bit lawsuit-heavy as of late. Or ZeniMax Media has, it’s kind of hard to tell since Bethesda’s founder also founded ZeniMax and then two are often referred to interchangeably.
Ages ago they tried to shut down Morroblivion, which was a project to let people convert their Morrowind game to Oblivion’s format. That worked for a bit, but now Morroblivion is back and going strong. Can’t stop the signal.
Then they had a legal tiff with Interplay, whom they purchased the Fallout license off, for several reasons.
First, Interplay were trying to sell Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics as “The Fallout Trilogy”. Whilst selling these old but awesomely epic mega amazing games (and Fallout Tactics) to the newer generation is something I completely support, I can understand why Bethesda got ticked off: Fallout Trilogy would make most people think “Fallout 1, 2 and 3″. Either the people behind that product didn’t realise this and are morons, they did and didn’t think it’d matter, and thus are morons, or they were just being malicious and trying to con people. Either way, Bethesda had a point.
Then they tried to stop Interplay developing the Fallout Online MMORPG. Now I have my doubts that Fallout would work as an MMO, how the heck Fallout can feel suitably post-apocalyptic with a million n00bs running around shouting things like “L0L JUST PWN3D TEH SUPAR MUTENTS!” and the like? But that’s not what Bethesda’s issue was.
Best as I can tell, Bethesda signed a deal with Interplay that involved them bringing the Fallout MMO to a decently presentable state by a certain date. This date had long since passed, and Interplay had shown no real progress with the game. Bethesda didn’t like this, and told them to stop working on Fallout Online. They didn’t.
Again here I think Bethesda has a point. You contract someone to build you a shed in a week, and come back a fortnight later to find the shed not only not built, but the builders sitting next to where the shed should be drinking beer, you’re gonna get pissed off. Maybe they didn’t react as best as they could, but all in all I remain on Bethesda’s side there.
Now, Bethesda (or ZeniMax, it’s hard to say which since the two are kinda the same company but kinda not due to some legal stuff) are suing Mojang, the creators of Minecraft. Why? Because the next game Notch plans to work on after Minecraft is called “Scrolls”. And Bethesda have a game series called “The Elder Scrolls”.
What. The. Fuck!
Now, I really really really hope this is some dick playing a practical joke because if it’s not, well…I’m sorry, but there’s a line in the sand and Bethesda/ZeniMax/whatever will have finally crossed it here. To put this in context, it’s like the Milton Bradley’s ghost (The creator of “The Game of Life”) suing Valve for “Half-Life” due to the use of the word ‘Life’. Seriously, if this is a valid tactic why not just release a series of products that use, one by one, every word in the English dictionary. Then everybody will be forced to use foreign words, made-up words, or pay you to use yours! It’s genius I tells ye!
Seriously, line. Sand. Crossed. Congratulations Bethesda/ZeniMax Media, if this is you and you go through with this then…well, I’ll still buy Skyrim because I’m your bitch but come-on!
Quote of the Day
“I sincerely hope Bethesda isn’t pulling a Tim Langdell.”
I really like procedurally generated content. It’s hard to get right, but when you do…well, ever played Dwarf Fortress or Minecraft? Well I like Dwarf Fortress a lot as a game, once you get past the simple graphics it’s a very fun game, and it gets more and more fun with every new release. And oh yes, there is fun to be had with this game.
Over at GameDev.net, a must-see sight for Game Development, /* Why you crying? */ has an interesting post in which JTippetts talks about Minecraft-like procedural generation using Perlin Noise. Personally, I found it a fascinating little read that got me thinking a lot about procedural content. Using Perlin Noise to generate a heightmap is nothing new, in fact it’s relatively ancient technology. But none-the-less it definitely can have some impressive results.
For those interested in Perlin Noise, I suggest a walk through Wikipedia. As computer science nuts, we should always take advantage of Wikipedia actually being pretty decent for our chosen field and whilst the Perlin noise doesn’t have much detail on the implementation itself it does have useful links.
Or, if you want me to just show you a few useful links, here’s some on three different types of noise to get you started, all of which I pulled off my…you guessed it, walk through Wikipedia.
- Make Noise by Ken Perlin
- Simplex Noise Demystified
- An explanation and implementation of Value Noise (mislabeled as Perlin noise)
For now I’m just looking and not really “touching” but colour me interested and don’t be surprised if I get my hands dirty in a later post. And if you want to get your hands dirty, but not too dirty, I recommend the LGPL’d LibNoise library. No sense in reinventing the wheel.
Quote of the Day
“During the test (a 20 sword free-for-all), a guy got stabbed in the lower body twice, his guts popped out, and then a third guy came up and severed his exposed guts, so that all seems to be working.”
Tarn Adams aka. Toady One, creator of Dwarf Fortress